IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9313.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Wage Structure and the Sorting of Workers into the Public Sector

Author

Listed:
  • George J. Borjas

Abstract

This paper uses data from the U.S. Decennial Census and the Current Population Surveys to document the differential shifts that occurred in the wage structures of the public and privatesectors between 1960 and 2000. The wage gap between the typical public sector worker and a comparable private sector worker was relatively constant for men during this period, but declined substantially for women. Equally important, wage dispersion in the public sector was increasing relative to wage dispersion in the private sector prior to 1970, at the time when public sector employment was rising rapidly. Since 1970, however, there has been a significant relative compression of the wage distribution in the public sector. The different evolutions of the wage structures in the two sectors are an important determinant of the sorting of workers across sectors. As a result of the relative wage compression, the public sector found it increasingly more difficult to attract and retain high-skill workers

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas, 2002. "The Wage Structure and the Sorting of Workers into the Public Sector," NBER Working Papers 9313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9313
    Note: LS PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9313.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "The Determinants of Queues for Federal Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 567-581, July.
    3. Borjas, George J, 1984. "Electoral Cycles and the Earnings of Federal Bureaucrats," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(4), pages 447-459, October.
    4. Borjas, George J, 1980. "Wage Determination in the Federal Government: The Role of Constituents and Bureaucrats," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1110-1147, December.
    5. William J. Moore & Robert J. Newman, 1991. "Government Wage Differentials in a Municipal Labor Market: The Case of Houston Metropolitan Transit Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 145-153, October.
    6. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555, Elsevier.
    7. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "A Reexamination of the Federal-Private Wage Differential in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 270-293, April.
    8. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Schwarz, Joshua L., 1987. "Public-sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1219-1260, Elsevier.
    9. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Rebecca M. Blank, 1985. "An Analysis of Workers' Choice between Employment in the Public and Private Sectors," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(2), pages 211-224, January.
    11. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "How Much Has De-Unionisation Contributed to the Rise in Male Earnings Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 3826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Black, Matthew & Moffitt, Robert & Warner, John T, 1990. "The Dynamics of Job Separation: The Case of Federal Employees," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(3), pages 245-262, July-Sept.
    13. Richard A. Ippolito, 1987. "Why Federal Workers Don't Quit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 281-299.
    14. Borjas, George J, 1982. "The Politics of Employment Discrimination in the Federal Bureaucracy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 271-299, October.
    15. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1988. "An Analysis of Public- and Private-Sector Wages Allowing for Endogenous Choices of Both Government and Union Status," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 229-253, April.
    16. Greg Hundley, 1993. "The Effects of Comparable Worth in the Public Sector on Public/Private Occupational Relative Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(2), pages 318-342.
    17. Craig, Lee A., 1995. "The Political Economy of Public-Private Compensation Differentials: The Case of Federal Pensions," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 304-320, June.
    18. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    19. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3573-3630 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630, Elsevier.
    3. Danzer, Natalia, 2019. "Job satisfaction and self-selection into the public or private sector: Evidence from a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 46-62.
    4. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of the U.S. Wage Distribution, 1970-2000," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 227-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "Are Public Sector Workers Paid More Than Their Alternative Wage? Evidence from Longitudinal Data and Job Queues," NBER Chapters, in: When Public Sector Workers Unionize, pages 217-242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Maria Guadalupe, 2007. "Product Market Competition, Returns to Skill, and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 439-474.
    7. Jeff Borland, 2000. "Economic Explanations of Earnings Distribution Trends in the International Literature and Application to New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/16, New Zealand Treasury.
    8. Rebecca M. Blank, 1993. "Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States vs. The United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 4339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gibbs, Michael, 2005. "Returns to Skills and Personnel Management: U.S. DoD Scientists and Engineers," IZA Discussion Papers 1539, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2012. "Understanding The Evolution Of The Us Wage Distribution: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 482-517, May.
    11. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    12. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    13. Moundir, Lassassi & Menna, Khaled, 2016. "La Notion De « Femmes Au Foyer » En Algerie, Une Realite Ou Une Representation Nostalgique [The Notion Of “ Homemaker” In Algeria, A Reality Or A Nostalgic Representation]," MPRA Paper 85740, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    15. Jelena Lausev, 2014. "WHAT HAS 20 YEARS OF PUBLIC–PRIVATE PAY GAP LITERATURE TOLD US? EASTERN EUROPEAN TRANSITIONING vs. DEVELOPED ECONOMIES," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 516-550, July.
    16. Jim Airola & Chinhui Juhn, 2008. "Wage Inequality in Post-Reform Mexico," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(1), pages 110-134, March.
    17. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L., 2001. "Deunionization, technical change and inequality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 229-264, December.
    18. James M. Poterba & Kim S. Rueben, 1994. "The Distribution of Public Sector Wage Premia: New Evidence Using Quantile Regression Methods," NBER Working Papers 4734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2006. "Ben-Porath meets skill-biased technical change: a theoretical analysis of rising inequality," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 144, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    20. Keith A. Bender, 1998. "The Central Government‐Private Sector Wage Differential," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 177-220, April.
    21. Denis Fougère & Julien Pouget, 2003. "Les déterminants économiques de l'entrée dans la fonction publique," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 369(1), pages 15-48.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9313. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.